Yousef Makki’s heartbroken sister ‘wants to forgive’ friend who imported knife that killed him

Jade Akoum could be forgiven if she was consumed entirely by rage – she has had to endure tragedy and pain only few can imagine: the loss of her younger brother Yousef Makki, the talented Manchester Grammar School pupil stabbed to death aged just 17; the death of their mother Debbie from a ‘broken ‘heart’; and a burning feeling of injustice.

Yet she is not defined by anger – far from it.

Amazingly, she wants to meet the boy who killed her brother and the boy who bought the knife that inflicted the fatal injury, boys from privilege and wealth to millions of thousands from the humble world of the Makki family, who could not have dreamed about sending Yousef to MGS without the bursary that made it possible.


And not only does Jade, herself a mother-of-four, want to meet them. She is open to the idea that she might forgive one of the lads involved in Yousef’s death. All she asks in return is ‘the truth’.

Yousef, from Burnage, was stabbed through the heart by Joshua Molnar, the privately educated son of wealthy parents from Hale, on a leafy lane in affluent Hale Barns on March 2, 2019. Both were 17.

from left: Jade Akoum, her brother Yousef Makki and their mother Debbie Maki after Yousef had won a bursary to attend Manchester Grammar School

A jury acquired Molnar, now 20, of murder and manslaughter in 2019, although he was handed a 16-month detention and training order after admitting possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury and lying to police at the scene. By their verdict, the jury accepted he acted in self-defence.

His co-defendant at the 2019 trial, another MGS student, Adam Chowdhary, now 19, from Hale Barns, who described Yousef as his ‘best friend’, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice. He was given a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a flick knife, one of two he claimed he and Yousef had jointly ordered online during a break from lessons at MGS.

Yousef’s mother Debbie, 55, died in May, 2020, during lockdown. She had never recovered from Yousef’s death and died ‘of a broken heart’, according to her family.

Following an inquest in November last year, Senior South Manchester Coroner Alison Mutch recorded a narrative conclusion, saying: “Yousef died from complications of a stab wound to chest. The precise circumstances in which he was wounded cannot, on balance of probabilities, be ascertained .”

The conclusions of the trial and inquiry stunned the family. The Makki family, who had urged an unlawful killing finding, is seeking a judicial review to overturn the coroner’s narrative verdict.

Jade Akoum has now written a book, The Boy With A Pound In His Pocket, which details the humble up-bringing and shocking death of Yousef as well as the family’s continuing feelings of injustice and grief over the killing of Yousef, who had ambitions to become a heart surgeon.

Yousef Makki smiles as he is caught on camera at Manchester Grammar School

He was affectionately known as Yo-Yo by his family because he was constantly on the move. He wanted to go to Oxford or Cambridge universities and promised his mother he would find a cure for arthritis, which had blighted his mother’s her later years.

Towards the end of the 286-page book, Jade explained how she wants, even now more than three years after the death, to meet the two friends who were with Yousef that night, Molnar and Chowdhary, during his final moments, and somehow remains. open to the possibility of offering her forgiveness.

She said: “Despite everything, and it may surprise many people, I would still welcome a meeting with Adam Chowdhary and his family. “Adam was one of Yousef’s closest friends; he loved him, and he had so many good times with him. The decision to buy knives online was one which led to Yousef’s death from him.

“Yet I have no doubt that Adam is hurting too. I need to know about Yousef’s last moments, I want to hear his last words, and however much it hurts, I have to know about the fear and the pain in his eyes.

“Surely Adam owes me this, at the very least?

Debbie Makki with her son Yousef who was stabbed to death in 2019. She died last year

“Anger and blame are powerful emotions, and they are very heavy to carry around, each day. I would like to let
them go.

“I want to forgive Adam, though I understand that not everyone will share my sentiment. If I have forgiveness inside me, can he find it in himself to meet me?

“My intentions are genuine. My heart is pure. My door is open.

“Joshua Molnar is more difficult for me to forgive. He pushed the knife into Yousef. He made videos glorifying knives and violence.

“He wept on the stand in Manchester Crown Court and then he made a video showing stabbing motions inside the toilets.

Joshua Molnar

“I want to feel compassion for him. But I also want him to feel genuine remorse. Again, I would welcome a meeting with him and his family. No cameras. No glitzy PR firms. Just the truth.”

In her book, Jade explains the guilt she and her mother Debbie felt with each memory or memento of Yousef’s life, such as the hole in the living room door left by a mistimed, playful swing of his fist left by the boxing-mad teenager.

She writes: “She couldn’t cope with the brutality of the situation which had been slammed upon her. For Mum, I think, any acknowledgment of her loss risked unleashing a giant dam of grief and once it rushed out, she would never be able to amuse it back.

Yousef Makki (main image), and (from left) Adam Chowdhary with Yousef

“Yet these snippets of reminiscence, these tenuous links with Yousef, were what kept me going and kept my head above the water. “But they were pushing Mum deeper under the surface, so that she had to fight for breath.

“I could see she was flailing; she was drowning. She blamed herself, too, for being too soft and allowing Yousef to meet with his friends that Friday evening after his day off school. ‘If I’d stood my ground, and kept him at home, he might still be alive,’ she said, wringing her hands in self-reproach.

“She was not responsible, and deep down, I hope she knew that. But as a mother your first job is to keep your child safe, and she tortured herself over and over that she had failed Yousef. I, too, chided myself. Why hadn’t I stepped in, and stopped him from leaving the house?

Front cover of The Boy With A Pound In His Pocket by Jade Akoum

“The guilt swilled round and round in my mind like sewage; toxic and infected. There were moments too, especially at night, when the dark silence was swollen with recrimination even towards Yousef.”

Jade told the MEN: “One of the reasons I did this was because of the way Yousef was portrayed in the criminal trial, and our experience of the criminal justice system. It just felt like we weren’t important. And it’s about knife crime If just one boy reads this and it changes their mind and it saves one life it will have been worth it.”

The Boy With A Pound In His Pocket by Jade Akoum, RRP £7.99 published by Mirror Books, is on sale April 28. Click here to order from Amazon.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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